Fighting for animal liberation and an end to speciesism
When it comes to the well-being of children there are myriad opinions and a million blogs purporting to have the answers to successful child-rearing.
So it is only natural that when a Los Angeles-based mother writes two children's books about veganism and raises her daughter on a strictly vegan diet, she will incite criticism from at least some experts and parents.
Ruby Roth, 29, the author of Why We Don't Eat Animals, has sparked debate with her latest release, Vegan is Love, among those who question the benefits of a vegan lifestyle to a growing child.
Though the book, that launches on April 24, also tackles subjects such as clothing, animal testing and the use of animals for entertainment purposes, the real controversy surrounds the chapters about food.
With a cover adorned by cute, friendly looking beasts of the jungle and forest, Vegan is Love simplifies a potentially dangerous subject for young kids, some say.
A Kirkus review described the illustrations as 'colorful, stylized paintings' that 'vary in subject matter, from cheerful organic farms to starving children, wounded animals and raw meat', and noted that the content may be preferred by parents as material for older children.
'It could easily scare a young child into eating vegan, and, without proper guidance, that child could become malnourished.'
But while many like her may wonder how a child could possibly receive all the proteins and vitamins they need from such a restrictive diet, veganism does not eliminate any of the key nutrients necessary for development.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, a well-planned vegan diet not only delivers the requisite nutrients but it can also provide health benefits that aid the prevention and treatment of disease.
Author: Ruby Roth wants to help heal the planet by living a vegan life
TODAY's own dietary expert Joy Bauer agrees that if a well-organised vegan eating plan includes B12 and vitamin D as well as iron, calcium, zinc and protein, there is no reason a child's growth should be threatened.
To do this, she says, vegan mothers who are breastfeeding should look to fortified soy milk as their source of B12, and once weaned, infants can also drink the same.
In fact, she expanded: 'Vegan diets provide all the nutrition you need to fuel your growing child and typically contain higher amounts of the "good stuff" - vegetables, fruits, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, etc. - than the standard American diet.'
The only risk, she explained, is that as kids get older and begin to have more control over what they eat they tend towards the starchier foods rather than the protein rich foods like beans, lentils, edamame, nuts and seeds.
For her part, Ms Roth's mission transcends the pros and cons of a nutritional plan. In a video trailer for the forthcoming Vegan is Love, she states: 'If we want to move towards an era of solutions where the planet is healing, people are fed and healthy, there is good in the way we do business and a reverence in the world for all living things, then all we have to is live that life ourselves.'
She adds: 'This is a kid's book of simple ideas but at its core it's really about democracy, supply and demand and engaging ourselves in the public realm.'
Haven't seen the book yet but I applaud Ruby for putting it out there with such apparent forthrightness and creativity. We've met her and she is doing terrific work in getting the vegan message into the mainstream.
Exactly - as I point out in The World Peace Diet, while nutritionists say that vegans are are at risk for deficiency in 3 nutrients (Vit. B-12, calcium, and iodine), they also point out that people eating the Standard American Diet are at risk for deficiency in 7 nutrients (Calcium, iodine, folate, magnesium, fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin E) -- but where's all the warnings for them???
Thanks for making me aware of this book! Too bad the release date is my niece's birthday or I would have bought her a copy. The coverage is pretty dismal, isn't it? Do the articles even state the target age group?
I think the phrase "well planned" keeps getting quoted because it's an important part of the official dietitians' position paper that mentions veganism. The original intent behind the position paper wasn't to suggest that vegan diets need better planning than other diets--just that the dietitians weren't recklessly condoning a diet of potato chips and lettuce leaves. The implication definitely is that all diets need to be well planned, and vegan diets are no exception. Unfortunately people have chosen to read in a negative message.
Its good the article ends with the quote from Ruby as many articles or media coverage start the other way round when referring to veganism so end with the negative.
For the dailymail its not the worst article I've seen regarding veganism but of course its not perfect also and created to stir some debate and argument as to the contents and context of veganism in society.
Without seeing or reading the book its hard to give a complete comment but there are positives in the article and I'll take that when some I've seen lately have been totally negative on every level.